Joe Gomez, Tammy Abraham and Ruben Loftus-Cheek deserve England call-ups, says Phil Thompson
Last Updated: 02/11/17 6:17pm
Former England defender Phil Thompson has hailed Gareth Southgate's decision to call up three youngsters to his latest squad.
Joe Gomez, Tammy Abraham and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have all been named in the squad for friendlies with Germany and Brazil as part of eight changes from the group that secured World Cup qualification.
The trio have been rewarded for establishing themselves as regular first-team players at Liverpool, Swansea and Crystal Palace respectively, with Abraham and Loftus-Cheek currently on loan from Chelsea.
Thommo has hailed their decision to seek regular action and believes their integration into the senior national squad is key to seizing upon England's recent youth-team success.
He told Sky Sports: "I think it is right to be giving these lads call-ups. They could be the future and they need to be integrated and be there with the senior team.
"You'll gain more benefits from having them there than to pick players who will make up the squad but have no way of getting on the pitch, so I'm all for it.
"You've got to start giving them a bit of hope after the fantastic results they've had with the youth teams. Here's the carrot.
"They've had to come away from their clubs to get game time and they are all improving every week and this can aid their progress.
"Gomez was exceptional last weekend. I think all of us as former internationals and pundits are saying you don't see the best of these lads until they are playing on a regular basis, it is no good just playing one game in 10.
"They start to look comfortable with their peers and they start to show their ability, whereas when they are only playing once a month or so they are trying too hard to impress.
"They've obviously got to break in somehow but it is no good just playing in the Carabao Cup and not getting off the bench in the Premier League."
The Liverpool legend also praised the trio individually, although he suggests they will all need to make adjustments to reach their potential.
He added: "I think Gomez will be a centre-back eventually. He's better defensively than Trent Alexander-Arnold, that goes without saying.
"He's quick, reads the game well and is good on the ball. The only downside is he needs to be more physical. He's got to grasp his chance and maintain.
"I've done quite a lot of Abraham's games and his movement is exceptional. You can see the more games he plays that he is looking more confident and proving he deserves to be starting ahead of Wilfried Bony.
"He did very well in the Sky Bet Championship and, despite it being difficult at Swansea, he's showing tactical awareness, tracking back, doing the work and learning a lot.
"It is the same for Loftus-Cheek. He's showing his worth for that side with his movement, getting forward to support Wilfried Zaha and Andros Towsend and is the hub of their mini-revival.
"I would like to see both move on from Chelsea, either in January or in the summer, because they have to play at their age."
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